Growing tomato plants is truly rewarding. There’s nothing like tasting a delicious, juicy tomato that you have successfully grown at home. Growing tomatoes is easy, however they do need some care and protection along the way to ensure you get a healthy, tasty harvest.
Supporting your tomato plant
Tomato plants grow in either two ways – cordon or bush. Bush tomatoes are short and bushy whereas cordon tomatoes grow tall and require support. If you are growing cordon tomatoes in beds or containers, then the Tomato Cage Plant Support will protect the tall stems from leaning or breaking. You can also tie a cane in the centre to provide extra support so the plant can grow up inside the frame. Alternatively, if you are growing in a grow bag then the Grow Bag Cane Support Frame is perfect for supporting the plants and protecting them from falling over.
When growing cordon tomatoes, it is also important to ensure the main stem doesn’t have any side-shoots sprouting. If this happens, regularly cut off the side-shoots. This will ensure that all the plants energy and nutrients go up the main stem and into the flower trusses.
Watering and Feeding
It is extremely important to keep your tomato plants hydrated by watering regularly. If you let the soil dry out, this can cause the fruit to split next time they are watered. Split fruit can then encourage fungal growth such as grey mould. Another reason it is vital to keep the compost moist is to help prevent blossom-end rot. Irregular watering can cause the fruit to develop dark patches which is caused by lack of available calcium. Calcium is found in the soil, so if the soil is dry the plants’ roots cannot absorb the calcium it needs for healthy growth.
Once the flowers appear, feed your plants with a tomato feed such as Big Tom. Make sure the soil is moist and simply dilute the recommended amount in a watering can and pour into the soil. This feed will then provide all the essential nutrients the plant needs to produce a bumper crop.
Pests and Disease
Whitefly are commonly attracted to tomatoes as they love to feed on the sap and therefore weaken the plant. If you notice whitefly on the underside of the leaves, use a control like Resolva Bug Killer Ready To Use. This will kill off the white fly. Remember to wait 3 days after spraying before harvesting your tomatoes’.
Another common problem with growing tomatoes is blight. Blight is a fungus that thrives in damp and warm weather and causes the fruit and foliage to rot. It is best to prevent blight from happening as once it occurs it can be very hard to get rid of. Firstly, keep your tomatoes dry, so pick a sunny, well ventilated spot if growing outdoors. Removing leaves also helps as it increases the air circulation.
Now you know how to successfully care for and protect you tomato plants, there’s nothing to stop you enjoying an incredible harvest. For the next step in your growing journey, take a look at our article on how to harvest and store your tomatoes.